Long lines ahead: Czech government limits number of people in shops

The latest restriction is part of the new anti-epidemic system presented by the Health Ministry on Friday.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 16.11.2020 21:46 (updated on 16.11.2020)

The Czech government has approved a measure that would limit the number of people in Czech shops to one person per 15 square meters, Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek (ANO) told CTK late Monday afternoon.

The latest restriction is part of the new anti-epidemic system (PES) presented by the Health Ministry on Friday. The new measure goes into effect on Wednesday.

Retail trade representatives have criticised the regulation, arguing that it will only increase the risk of coronavirus infection.

Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism (COCR) President Tomas Prouza said that the measure will increase people's mobility as they look for shorter lines while creating the threat of "panic shopping."

The limit of 15 square meters per person is valid until the third risk level in the PES system. In the first, mildest, risk level, up to four people can do shopping in an area of ​​15 square meters, while for the second level, this number drops to two.

The COCR has repeatedly warned the government that the 15-square-meter-per-person restriction is not justified by any expert opinion and will just lead to a higher concentration of people outside shops, Prouza said.

Moreover, 20 to 30 percent of customers will not be served at all due to this restriction, while others could be queuing outside shops for up to one hour during peak times, Prouza argued.

The risk assessment index (PES) has been at 70 (on a scale of 0 to 100) in the Czech Republic for the past five days in a row. The number corresponds with the fourth level of the new system (between 61-75) however, the country will be kept at the fifth and highest level until it reaches seven consecutive days at this lower level.

If the value remains under 75 by Wednesday, the Health Ministry will propose the relaxation of lockdown measures to the government, probably as of next Monday.